Luis Enrique predicts Champions League showdown with Atletico

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The Barcelona boss believes a repeat of last season's European clash between two La Liga heavyweights could be on the cards in the coming months

The Copa del Rey semi-final may not Barcelona's final knockout tie against Atletico Madrid this season, with Luis Enrique braced to draw Diego Simeone's men in the latter stages of the Champions League.

The Catalan giants saw their defence of the European crown ended by Atleti in the quarter-finals last term and the teams are now set to clash in the domestic cup competition, starting with the first leg at Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

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Beaten Champions League finalists at the hands of Real Madrid in May, Atleti face Bayer Leverkusen in this season's round of 16, Barca having drawn Paris Saint-Germain.

And should they both progress, the Copa del Rey clash could prove to be a dress rehearsal for an even bigger showdown. 

"We've played them many times before - we may end up playing them in the Champions League so this may not be the last two-legged tie between us and them this season," Luis Enrique told a news conference.

"It will be difficult."

Asked about the tactics Simeone is likely to employ, Luis Enrique said: "I don't see him changing very much and I'm not going to change our philosophy of play.

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"I think our approach [is] playing hard for… all 180 minutes. Our objective is clear, it's to win the game. 

"And that means we have to… score more than our opponents, keep the pressure on, overcome a tough atmosphere, one that's great in the world of football. And it's going to be a match that's up to par of what should be [produced] in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey."

Atleti have a well-deserved reputation for defensive organisation and competitive edge under Argentine boss Simeone, but Luis Enrique offered the media a reminder that with the likes of Antoine Griezmann in their ranks, they also carry plenty of threat in the final third. 

"I think it's a team that competes very hard," he said. 

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"They create a lot of problems for us. We know they are very capable of staying back in defence, closing up space and becoming very difficult to beat. 

"But we also know there is an Atletico Madrid that creates pressure up the field, gets to the goal, works very hard, they're very good. 

"There shouldn't be too many surprises. And they're one of the best teams in Europe. It's going to be difficult, very complicated."

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